Tips for Meditation
You want to meditate, you know it’s good for you in every way, but you just can’t get your practice going and even when you do, it lasts just a short time and then fizzles out again. I am sure most of us who have been drawn to this profound practice have dealt with this problem at one time or another. So in this article series I will share with you 10 meditation tips which should go a long way in helping you establish a long-term, strong and beneficial practice.
In part 1 I will discuss 5 of these tips and continue with 5 more meditation tips in part 2 coming soon.
10 Meditation Tips:
1. Stretch Before Meditation:
One of the big challenges that beginner’s have with meditation is that their bodies don’t cooperate with sitting still. There are many reasons for this, with flexibility being one them. This lack of flexibility can lead to a great deal of discomfort when sitting, especially if one is trying one of the cross legged postures. A good way to combat some of this discomfort is by doing some simple stretching before sitting for meditation.
The following yoga set has exercises and poses specifically to help you stretch your hips, groin and back, thus helping to alleviate many of the common problems that arise from stiffness and sitting.
2. Find the Right Meditation Posture:
You don’t need to do sit in full lotus in order to meditate. You can sit in half lotus, simple cross legged or, as I do, you can sit Burmese style. If you not comfortable in any of these postures, you can sit up on a chair, lie on your back or if you prefer, you can even to walking meditation. There are plenty of options, so don’t give up on meditation simply because you cannot sit like the yogis in the Himalayas.
One more tip with regard to meditation is feel free to use a good meditation cushion (zafu) to help you take a comfortable, upright posture. Here is an article which will give you more information on meditation posture, especially if you are new to this wonderful practice.
3. Do Pranayama Before Meditation:
Suffering from monkey mind? Worries and excessive thinking making it difficult to meditate? Well meditation tip number 3 might just be your answer. There are some wonderful pranayamas (yoga breathing exercises) which will help settle and calm your mind and make it much easier to meditate. Here are 2 pranayamas for you to try.
If you are new to pranayama please start gently and don’t over do either one.
4. Set Reasonable Meditation Time Goals:
There are, in my view, 2 magic numbers when it comes to how much time one ought to meditate. This is especially for those who are new to meditation. The amount of time you are trying to get to is 20 minutes 2 times per day of formal meditation. This is the level at which others and myself have found meditation to really start to have a positive impact. But you don’t have to try to get there overnight. For developing your practice you should follow the second magic number.
The second magic number with regard to how long to meditate is the amount of time you can meditate comfortably, plus 5 minutes. Don’t forget the plus 5 minutes :-). Those 5 minutes are when you are really growing in your ability to handle life as it is. So if you are able to sit for 5 minutes with ease, then you should be meditating for 10 minutes.
Being too ambitious with the length of time you set for your meditation can quickly become counterproductive. Deciding to meditate for long periods of time, such as 1 hour and more, can lead to challenges such as lack of motivation due to how hard it is going to be or inconsistency due to time constraints. So be reasonable and realistic and develop your practice smoothly.
Here is an article that explores this topic in more detail:
5. Find a Meditation Group:
Often times you will came across something in life that will inspire you to start or restart your meditation practice (like this blog for example :-), but the inspiration may wane over time making it difficult to continue on the meditative path. Without a shadow of a doubt, if you are interested in spirituality, meditation is best use of your time and life, but unfortunately, despite knowing this, people just can’t seem to make it an integral part of their lives. To help accomplish this joining or forming a meditation group can be very useful.
The key to meditation is establishing a regular practice and having a group to meditate with will go a long way in ensuring you meditate consistently. When you are not in the mood, under inspired, feeling lazy, etc, etc, having a group encouraging you and one that you are committed to will get you to do your meditation. Over time you will find that the more you meditate, the more it becomes a part of your life and then missing your sessions will make you feel like your day is incomplete. Getting to this stage means that meditation is now truly finding it’s way into your life and as a result you will find it transforming every corner of your life.
Stay tuned for part 2 where I will share 5 more meditation tips with you. If you have any meditation tips which you feel would be useful to others please do share them with others in the comments section below.